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FLEXO Magazine : April 2008
FTA TODAY VREELAND: The push with the awards judging and changing the process was the biggest thing I remember. Alan Leeson and Bruce Riddell did a great job of taking this project and working with the Awards Committee to come up with a system of judging that, while slightly different today, is the same process that Alan and Bruce worked out. This process also changed how the awards were presented to the membership-a 3-hour ceremony was trimmed to 45 minutes to one-hour, max. The membership will remember that change for sure, as it made the banquet a reasonable timed event. COLLINS: I have been attending the FFTA's Annual Forum every year for the past 16 years. It is the highlight of my profes- sional calendar each year. It is a one-stop shop for new technical information, face to face discussions with every one of my pri- mary suppliers, and a great place to network with old friends and to develop new relationships. What do you consider FFfA's most significant contributions to the industry? LANCELLE: Our vision statement says it all, uTo be the recog- nized definitive source for information that contributes to contin- uous and significant improvements in the flexographic printing/ converting industry." The focus of FFTA is exclusively educational and scientific, encompassing standards, research, awards and education and training initiatives. The thing about FFTA that so often goes overlooked is that we face a particular challenge, when compared to the activities and focus of so many other trade associations, in that our member- ship base is very segmented within itself. The training and edu- cational requirements that are very important to one segment of our industry, for instance, may have very little merit to one of the other segments. So, when I look at the most significant contribu- tions that this association has provided the industry, I prefer to view it as the ability to u serve so many masters" in the ongoing development of educational, training and awards programs that provide ongoing value to the membership base. NIEMAN: Creating a collaborative environment whereby print- ers, suppliers, educators, consumer product companies and in- dustry professionals can work together to come up with ideas and programs to improve our industry... whether this has come from Annual Forums, workshops, technical committees, educational ac- tivities...AlI have contributed to a path of continual improvement. Another major contribution is in the continued support of edu- cation and technical standards. FFTA's support of schools, stu- dents, seminars, certification, and educational materials have all provided leadership in advancing flexo overall. FIRST and similar programs, over the years, have provided a framework for our in- dustry to continue to advance its capabilities. SCHLIESMANN: The organization's two most significant contributions to the industry are continuing to promote and build awareness of the flexo printing process, and of helping to lay the groundwork for training that leads to advancements in - the process. FIRST links FTA and its members with the consumer product companies, to help build awareness of flexo's quality and address the industry's needs. ANTHONY: Without a doubt, FTA lives up to its name and offers education and technical information you can't get near as easily anywhere else. MULLEN: Education... Standards.. .Mentoring...The people who I listened to-Jim Ely, Doug Tuttle, Sam Gilbert-became my mentors. Other people filled their shoes-Arleen Neustein, Ed Lieb, Tony Bart, Jim Feeney, Ron and Katherine Harper, Rick Hocking-took up the cause of educating flexographers and establishing standards, so that we could benchmark flexo's progress and continually push the envelope. HOCKING: A balance had to be struck between FTA's non- commercialism policy, and keeping the membership up-to-date on breaking technologies. The Forum and FLEXO Magazine both accomplished this quite well. True, some members thought non- commercialism hampered the effectiveness and I appreciate that point of view. Still, when the flexo industry was growing by leaps and bounds, FT A was there to keep us in the know. LIEB: FIRST has been nearly universally accepted by our cus- tomers. That's a slam-dunk in my book! It enables concise, effective communications throughout the workflow of the packaging development supply chain and print- run. FIRST has facilitated communication between the Consumer Product Company, a.k.a. the package buyer, the graphic designer, trade shop and printer, and even, at times the end-user. It's opened our eyes to each other's concerns and it's helped to elimi- nate bottlenecks, solve some long-standing problems and speed time to market. SICKINGER: One of the Forums during my tenure actually compared flexo, offset and gravure-under the banner of UProject FOG." Results made it clear: flexo would never again be thought of as second or third best. I credit FTA and the membership for this achievement. Then and now, FTA is the place to go for technical knowledge. I have always been impressed with the willingness of Flexo people to share their knowledge for the good of all. VREELAND: FTA's greatest contribution to our industry is, first and foremost, education. It's available to our membership through the FFTA's training programs and publications, and its contribution to educating high school and college students through industry participation, as well as the FFTA's work with the Phoenix Challenge. COLLINS: FIRST. Prior to the issuance of the manual, there were no well-defined industry guidelines. Most standards used were based on SWOP (Standard Web Offset Procedures), a good start but clearly not tailored to the work of a flexographer. FIRST also serves as a great communications tool between designer, printer, and buyer, in an unbiased how-to-do format. (continued on page 92) APR I L 2008 www.flexography.org FLEXO